Vegetable Gardens

With the spring equinox looming this weekend, tomato, pepper and cucumber season seem near. However, it’s too early to plant any of these in Lamorinda and much of Northern California. We need a succession of warm nights before the soil reaches a temperature that can accommodate new plantings of summer vegetables.

But work can begin on the beds and pots. If you have raised beds or containers from last summer’s vegetable garden, turn over and fluff up the soil. Add organic compost, like Firmulch (no more than 1/3rd compost to 2/3rds soil), and it doesn’t hurt to renew (not necessarily replace) the old soil with new, high-quality potting soil. For tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce / kale beds / pots, add some powdered calcium. I will often mix in a bit of organic tomato/vegetable food when I fold over the soil, as well.

If you buy tomatoes now, keep them indoors in a warm, bright window and make sure the soil stays moist. If this year is like the past five or so years, it may be best to plant them after April 15. With cucumbers, zucchini, and the like, I usually wait until June.

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